Enslaved woman sitting on a balance scale and being weighed
Original Author: George Bourne, author
Created: 1838 edition (first published 1834)
Medium: Engraving

Selling Females by the pound.

A young enslaved woman, her head cast down, bears the humiliation of being weighed on a scale like a household commodity, and then sold by the pound. This engraving appeared in George Bourne's Picture of Slavery in the United States of America (1834), an abolitionist text that included this description of the scene:

Young coloured women, stripped to a thin, scanty body garment, after the most offensively indecent examination, are publicly placed in scales, weighed, and sold by the pound.

"Breeding wenches," as they are shockingly termed in the slave-holder's ungodly and impure phraseology, are as regularly nurtured and trafficked, expressly to supply the human flesh-market, as a northern farmer endeavours to improve and enlarge his stock of horses, cattle, hogs, and sheep.

On many plantations bribes are offered expressly to encourage the utmost licentiousness that children may be born; who are always for sale, provided rapacity can be satisfied; and thus all maternal and parental and pure domestic feelings wither and die.